Annotation Alcatraz Chapter Seventeen
I didn’t take the opportunity to point out anything at the beginning of this chapter.
This editorial–the one I put in the middle of the chapter, rather than at the beginning–was one of those inspired directly by readers. A lot of the fan mail I get mentions that a reader was kept up late by one of my books. I always take this as a compliment, and I’m pretty sure it’s usually intended as one. People want me to know that my book was good enough for them to lose sleep over, and after all, I consider the opportunity cost of sleep to be far greater than the mere cost of money spent on a book.
So, it’s a real honor. How do I respond? By making fun of people who end up reading Alcatraz late at night. 🙂 I sincerely hope that people run across this chapter early in the morning and think, “Ah! I can’t believe it!” Not only will it be really funny, but it might give a more personal connection to the book. I wrote this in my basement years before you ended up reading it, but if I can guess a little bit of what you’re feeling and doing, it brings the book closer to you.
My editor, by the way, didn’t really like the “Whoever put in that last cliffhanger” aside. (She liked a lot of the humor, by the way. I only point out the ones that she suggested cutting.) I kept it, even though it’s a bit of an awkward joke. Mostly, I wanted to give you a hint of how I was feeling as I wrote this. I was, indeed, staying up far later than I should have, working on one more chapter before I went to sleep. I thought that readers might appreciate knowing this.
Primitive doesn’t always mean useless.
The other big thing in this chapter that I wanted to mention is the editorial about why Sing’s guns are useful. Some early readers had difficulty understanding, if swords were so advanced, why they should care about Sing’s guns. I felt it important, then, to point out that weapons are still weapons.
I’ve intentionally reversed things in this book. Guns have taken the place of swords, and swords the place of guns. This is a time-tested tradition in the fantasy genre–just look at Star Wars. We all like swords. They have a stylish coolness; we think of them as more elegant, more heroic, than a pistol.
However, the thing I want to mention here is that a weapon is still a weapon. A knife or sword can easily kill you in the real world. In the same way, a gun in the Alcatrazworld is very dangerous–even if they’re not used as often.
Grandpa Smedry Rescued
We finally get Grandpa Smedry back. One of the tough things about this series is that I don’t want to use him too much. Even though he’s a loon, he is the one who knows what is going on, and he’s rather powerful. He could easily overshadow Alcatraz, and that’s why I split them up.
But now the team is back together, and they have an objective. These last three chapters are going to be fun.